The vast majority of business people focus on tactics to be successful – strategy, marketing, sales and systems.
Yet after doing this religiously for ten years still often complain that they have not achieved what they had hoped.
Is there something more they needed to work on to succeed at a high level in business?
I think there is: Their self image.
In my view, doing all the external tactical stuff can only get you so far, if you are being held back by inner feelings of not being deserving of business success, or not feeling that you’re good enough personally to succeed.
Self image affects our performance at work, in subtle yet impactful ways.
We present a little too timidly to win the account. We don’t dare to move the company forward in a new and better direction. We accept a medium level of revenue growth when we should be aiming for a record uplift. There’s a hundred ways our progress gets impeded by how we feel about ourselves deep down inside.
But enough about the problem, let’s look at some solutions.
From Dr Nathaniel Branden’s work in the Sixties to Professor Barbara Frederickson’s very recent research (she was born in the Sixties) a myriad of studies have been done on the way how we think about ourselves affects our performance, in work and life.
Here are two ways to increase to increase your self esteem and thereby improve your chances of succeeding in the business world.
Be Your Own Best Fan.
Too often we are the opposite – we are our harshest critic, slamming ourselves in private for perceived errors in public.
Those with high self esteem and high self efficacy are no less demanding of their performance, but also support themselves with their own thinking and self evaluation. They talk themselves up. They choose to interpret events in a positive way. They tell themselves that they can and will achieve.
Doing this takes considerable self discipline, but with consistent effort we can become our most ardent supporters, rather than beating ourselves up inside. If we can pull it off then inevitably our business performance will improve.
Invest In Your Own Competence.
Generally the more competent you are at business skills the more confident you will be when doing them. Logical of course. Yet so many entrepreneurs and executives are happy to coast on their previous studies and accumulated experience rather than dedicating themselves to ever higher levels of learning and competence in their fields.
When you think about it, it’s clear that becoming highly competent has a dual reward. You get the benefits of that specific area of competence but you also feel better about yourself generally. In sports parlance, you feel more like a winner, which in turn leads to more confident actions/results.
Combine positive self talk with ever increasing task competence and you have a powerful synergy of internal and external self esteem boosters. It won’t be long before what you think of yourself changes – and then so will your entire future.